TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- A U.S. Marine airplane crashed into a training site in the southern Mohave Desert during a military exercise, killing the two men aboard, officials said.
Authorities said Thursday 1st Lt. Colburn Hinton Jr., 31, of Wilson, N.C., and Capt. David Fuzessery, 29, of Grant City, Ill., died after their aircraft plunged into the Blacktop training center Tuesday, some 30 miles north of Twentynine Palms, a Marine training base 150 miles east of Los Angeles.
Both were members of a Marine observation squadron based in New River, N.C.
Officials said Hinton and Fuzessery were flying an OV-10 multi-purpose Bronco twin-engine plane during a routine training mission and arms exercise when their aircraft crashed.
Rescue helicopters, sent out after the plane failed to return from its mission, discovered the wreckage early Wednesday.
Officials at the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station identified the two men killed Wednesday in a plane crash in southwestern Arizona.
Victims were the pilot, Capt. Stewart Gunst, 31, Lompoc, Calif., and the observer, Maj. James Smee, 36, Fort Lupton, Colo. Both were assigned to the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 stationed at the Yuma base, officials said Thursday.
The propeller plane flown by Gunst crashed on the Luke Air Force Base training range, 29 miles southwest of Gila Bend, while participating in a weapons and tactics instructor course.